Line Art Illustration of a Mass Protest
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The Return of the Mass Strike

TEACHERS, STUDENTS, FEMINISTS, AND THE NEW WAVE OF POPULAR UPHEAVALS

June 6, 2020

In This Feature

“We can’t remain indifferent to the social movement out there. Something’s not right with this country and the 14-year-olds were the first ones to say so–now it’s workers’ turn to say enough is enough.” — Patricio Tapia, Chilean miners’ local union president, October 2019

 

The Mass Strike is back, its obituaries once again having proved premature.1I would like to thank Sue Ferguson, Sana Tannoury-Karam, Zachary Levenson, Charlie Post, and Ashley Smith for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this article. Just over fifty years ago, the French socialist Andre Gorz pronounced, “In the foreseeable future, there will be no crisis of European capitalism so dramatic as to drive the mass of workers to revolutionary general strikes.”2Andre Gorz, “Reform and Revolution,” Socialist Register 1968 (London: Merlin Press, 1968), 111. Four months later, ten million French workers went on general strike—a million of them by occupying their workplaces—in one of the largest extended mass strikes in history. Alongside them, hundreds of thousands of students walked out of classes and occupied university buildings.3For a comprehensive account of 1968 in France see Daniel Singer, Prelude to Revolution: France in May 1968 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1970). For a detailed factory-level analysis of May 1968, see Andre Hoyles, General Strike: France 1968—A Factory by Factory Account (London: Institute for Workers Control, 1969). General overviews of the dynamics of global revolt in 1968 include: George Katsiaficas, The Imagination of the New Left: A Global Analysis of 1968 (Boston: South End Press, 1987); Chris Harman, The Fire Last Time: 1968 and After (London: Bookmarks, 1988); Tariq Ali and Susan Watkins, 1968: Marching in the Streets (New York: The Free Press, 1998). For an insightful assessment of May 1968 in France and its after-effects, see Kristin Ross, May ’68 and its Afterlives (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002). Rudely rebuffed by events Gorz may have been; deterred he was not. Barely more than a decade later, he doubled down, bidding farewell not merely to the mass strike but to the working class itself as an agent of social change.4Andre Gorz, Adieux aux proletariat (Paris: Éditions Galilée, 1980); Gorz, Farewell to the Working Class (London: Pluto Press, 1982).

In quite a different idiom, Joshua Clover has recently reworked similar themes, proclaiming an end to the strike as a form of radical social protest. Clover declares in his book, Riot. Strike. Riot: The New Era of Uprisings that we are living through “the collapse of value production at the core of the world system,” i.e. the demise of the system in which capitalists accumulate surplus value through the production of commodities. It ostensibly follows that strikes are now obsolete, as traditional working class struggle is displaced by the riot as the appropriate mode of resistance and opposition.5Joshua Clover, Riot. Strike. Riot: The New Era of Uprisings (London: Verso Books, 2016): 23, 7. Clover remains committed to militant struggles for radical social change and occasionally hedges his bets about strikes. But he clearly sees the epoch of the strike as having drawn to a close around 1973 (Clover: 9). For thoughtful criticisms of Clover’s thesis see Amanda Armstrong, “Disarticulating the Mass Picket,” Viewpoint Magazine, September 6, 2016; Alberto Toscano, “Limits to Periodization, Viewpoint Magazine, September 6, 2016; and Kim Moody, “Organize. Strike. Organize,” Jacobin, May 2018. It is noteworthy that Clover’s political-economic analysis of late capitalism is fundamentally indebted to an entirely misguided (and theoretically incoherent) effort by Giovanni Arrighi to transpose moments in Marx’s general formula for capital (M-C-M’) onto long epochs in the history of capitalism. See Giovanni Arrighi, The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power and the Origins of Our Times (London: Verso Books, 1996): 219-20. As a brief reflection should show, contra Arrighi and Clover, there can be no phase of capitalism dominated by the exchange of money for commodities (M-C), since the latter must be transformed back into money (in ever-higher quantities) if capital is to accumulate. On the “great doubling” of the global working class, see Richard B. Freeman, “The New Global Labor Market,” Focus, 2:1 (Summer-Fall 2008), available at: https://www.irp.wisc.edu/publications/focus/pdfs/foc261a.pdf. I discuss some of these issues in Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance (Oakland: PM Press, 2012): 50-57. Nothing I argue here is meant to suggest that riots will not persist as forms of social protest. Indeed, they often take shape as moments within some of the mass strike movements I discuss below. Historical events have not been particularly kind toward this obituary for the strike either. To begin with, it ignores the “great doubling” of the global working class (and the corresponding increase of worldwide value production) over the last four decades. Equally damaging to this thesis, within two years of the appearance of Clover’s book, a 2018 wave of illegal teachers’ strikes swept across parts of the United States. The education strikes tentatively signalled a new era of U.S. labor protest.6I say tentatively because it is still possible that a concerted ruling class offensive might derail a process that is still very much in its formative stages. Throughout this article, I will frequently follow custom and refer to the education strikes as “teachers’ strikes.” In fact, a variety of education workers—including cooks, caretakers, and educational assistants—are often involved. For that reason, the term “education strikes” more accurately reflects their composition.

Alongside teachers’ struggles there sprang up picket lines of tens of thousands of hotel and restaurant workers in Las Vegas and Chicago, as well as the first-ever national strike against sexual harassment at McDonald’s. These outbursts of labor struggle pushed strike activity in the U.S. to its highest levels in thirty years.7Alexia Fernandez Campbell, “A Record Number of US Workers Went on Strike in 2018,” Vox, February 13, 2019; Bryce Covert, “Workers Are Heading Back to the Picket Lines,” The Nation, December 2, 2019. No doubt, the upturn in strike activity is from a very low level. But the trendline is up, and significantly so. To be sure, the revival of the strike is happening from an extremely low level, and it is hampered by a long-term erosion of rank and file union networks. But it matters greatly that the trend is upward, and that it continued throughout 2019 with mass teachers’ strikes in Los Angeles and Chicago, a 40-day walkout by nearly 50,000 workers at GM, as well as strikes by nurses, grocery store workers, and Uber drivers.8Bryce Covert, “Workers are Heading Back to the Picket Lines,” The Nation, December 2, 2019. I should note that the GM strike had few of the insurgent features of recent teachers’ strikes and was managed from above in conventional business union style.

Meanwhile, on a global scale a new wave of insurgent strikes has been in motion since the onset of the Great Recession in 2008. The year 2019 represented a high point in this regard, as mass strikes surged to sometimes dizzying heights in the midst of popular uprisings in Sudan, Algeria, Chile, Lebanon, Iraq, Colombia, France, and beyond. More than this, the strike as a form of protest has also been enthusiastically embraced by movements against gender oppression and the planetary climate emergency.

From the International Women’s Strike (IWS) to the Global Climate Strike, feminists and young global justice campaigners have framed their protests in terms of this most classically proletarian idiom of resistance. Not only have IWS and the climate strikers brought millions into the street in actions that build subaltern agency and resistance, with more than 50 countries experiencing IWS protests in both 2017 and 2018. Beyond this, IWS involved traditional workplace strikes in many quarters, indeed large-scale ones in Spain and Argentina, where millions rallied against sexual violence, wage discrimination, and attacks on abortion rights. In Chile, as I discuss below, feminist strikes were integral to creating the climate of resistance for general strikes in 2019.

Meanwhile, climate justice activists adopted the strike as the identifier for global protests that brought over six million people into the streets for climate justice in the fall of 2019.9Indeed, one of the primary websites for the movement is simply called https://globalclimatestrike.net/ This stimulated workplace walkouts for climate justice in Québec and Australia.10On Australia, see Zacharias Szumer, “Instead of Choking on Smoke, Sydney Workers Are Walking off the Job,” Jacobin, December 15, 2019. I discuss the Québec case later in this article. Not only is the strike as a weapon of working-class struggle resurgent at the moment, therefore, but it is being extended in ways that recapture its associations with multiple forms of street-level mobilization. Of course, returns are never repetitions. The return of mass strike inevitably involves new forms and dynamics. Understanding the features of these new upheavals ought to command the attention of all who seek to radically change the world.

The new strike movements are harbingers of a period of recomposition of militant working class cultures of resistance, the very soil out of which socialist politics can grow.

To be sure, the return of worker activism carries with it the legacies of labor defeats across the long period of neoliberal assaults. Having suffered decades of atomization, de-unionization, and the decomposition of infrastructures of dissent, grassroots networks of workers are often weak and fragmented. In the United States, union membership continues to decline. Rarely therefore are workers organizations capable of reaping all the potential gains in combativity, consciousness, solidarity, and organization that these strikes portend.11For the term “infrastructures of dissent” and an insightful analysis of the issues to which I am alluding, see Alan Sears, The Next New Left: A History of the Future (Halifax: Fernwood Books, 2014): 14-24. Furthermore, the past decade has been one of right-wing insurgence, more than of renewal for the left, and this poses major obstacles to the building of new forms of solidarity and resistance. Nonetheless, the new strike movements are harbingers of a period of recomposition of militant working class cultures of resistance, the very soil out of which socialist politics can grow.12My use of the concepts of class decomposition and recomposition, which originated in Italian workerism of the 1960s and 1970s, is indebted to David Camfield, “Reorienting Class Analysis: Working Classes as Historical Formations,” Science and Society, 68:4 (2004-2005): 421-446. For this reason, it is crucial to understand these new modalities of class struggle if we are to cultivate strategies for changing the world.

Reinventing the Mass Strike

Before proceeding further, let us clarify the meaning of the mass strike. Here, I turn to Rosa Luxemburg’s classic text on the topic, The Mass Strike, The Political Party, and The Trade Unions, based on her participation in the revolutionary strike wave in Russia in 1905. Several key elements are decisive to the analysis developed there.

First, Luxemburg chooses the term mass strike to distinguish it from the often-ritualized general strike, typically bureaucratically stage-managed by labor officials for a single day. Such general strikes have none of the energy, spontaneity, and combativity of mass strikes that begin from below in walkouts by angry workers and then cascade into a wave of strikes and demonstrations. This dynamic of self-activity from below—in contrast to bureaucratic control from above—is the second key characteristic of the mass strike for Luxemburg. Finally, the mass strike is not a single event. Instead, it is a multidimensional social process embracing strikes, demonstrations, street battles, “riots,” sit-ins, and the building of assembly-style popular organizations in workplaces and communities.13Rosa Luxemburg, The Mass Strike, The Political Party, and The Trade Unions and The Junius Pamphlet (New York: Harper and Row, 1971). I discuss all these features at more length in the second last section of this article. For interesting reflections on some of these themes, see Kim Moody, “General Strikes, Mass Strikes,” Against the Current, September/October 2012, available at https://solidarity-us.org/atc/160/p3679/

It is important to insist on the last point, since too often the strike is identified with the orderly withdrawal of labor by unionized workers operating according to legal rules of collective bargaining.14Indeed, this presupposition is implicitly necessary to Joshua Clover’s sharp distinction between riot and strike. Of course, there were forms of riot long before the strike, and there can be riots today that do not involve strikes. But once the capitalist mode of production emerges, strikes will often have riotous features. I should add here that the withdrawal of labor presupposes the withdrawal of labor-power. This, of course, has nothing in common with the origins of the strike itself—which was as much riot, demonstration, and street fight as it was refusal to work. One historian has noted that striking eighteenth-century sailors and coal-heavers in London, England used petitions as well as “mobbing, intimidation, and violence” as part of their repertoire of struggle.15Dermot Feenan, “On Strike: Commemorating the 250th Anniversary of the Word ‘Strike’,” available at http://dermotfeenan.com/index.php/2018/05/07/on-strike-commemorating-the-250th-anniversary-of-the-word-strike/. See also Feenan, “The Birth of the Strike,” Tribune, December 19, 2019. Moreover, as Amanda Armstrong rightly observes, throughout the history of the strike, “the looting of rail networks and the mass picketing of city streets constituted key oppositional tactics” of labor movements in many jurisdictions.16Armstrong, “Disarticulating the Mass Picket.”

From its inception, then, the strike has combined forms of social protest that go far beyond the orderly walkout from work. While the withdrawal of labor is crucial, demonstrations, flying pickets, street battles, and occupations have all figured in the repertoire of the strike. And in mass strikes the multiplicity of tactics appears in especially sharp relief, as unorganized workers and oppressed sections of the population are awakened and drawn into struggle. Taking to the streets, such groups often attack notorious symbols of oppression, disrupt schools, confront police, and so on—all as part of a wave of protest centered on workplace strikes. The example of the 1937 wave of sitdown strikes in the United States is an instructive case in point.

At General Motors, the largest manufacturing corporation in the U.S. at the time, 170 sitdowns occurred between March and June 1937. In the course of merely two weeks in March, Chicago workers organized nearly sixty sitdown actions. The success of the tactic created a snowball effect. Black and white kitchen and laundry workers at a New York City hospital sat down, as did women workers at Woolworth stores in that town. Prisoners at the state prison in Jolliet, Illinois staged a sitdown, as did high school students in Mineville, New York in solidarity with their teachers, who were locked in a contract dispute. Even children in a Pittsburgh movie theater organized a sitdown when the owner stopped showing “shorts” before the main feature.17Jeremy Brecher, Strike! (San Francisco: Straight Arrow Books, 1972): 206, 208, 209, 211. Useful background on this period can be found in Art Preis, Labor’s Giant Step (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1972). The sitdown strike had blossomed as the preferred modality of protest, even for groups—like high school students, prisoners, and children at a movie theater—that were not withholding their labor.

Those of a scholastic bent might insist that these were not strikes. But this is to miss the point that the explosion of sitdown strikes had made the tactic the new currency of militant social opposition. The strike had become the reference point for a growing range of oppositional struggle. As the sitdown strike remade the protest culture of the working class in the United States, a wide range of groups drawn to protest adapted its forms to their struggles.

Something similar is clearly at work today as students, feminists, and climate justice activists lay claim to the strike. Many actions that have accompanied these movements do not involve the withdrawal of labor-power at workplaces.18Of course, part of the purpose of a women’s strike is to highlight all the other forms of social reproductive work women perform that can be withdrawn. As Susan Ferguson points out, however, the orientation of the new Marxist feminism is to develop the classic workplace strike as one key front in an insurgent struggle on the terrain of modern capitalism. See Ferguson, Women and Work: Feminism, Labour, and Social Reproduction (London: Pluto Press, 2020), 133-37. But their militant and mass forms of protest—school boycotts, rallies, and mass demonstrations—have often stimulated and encouraged workplace walkouts. In addition, these movements have reconnected labor strikes to a wider range of protest tactics, contributing to the repurposing of the strike for an era of capitalist austerity and climate disasters. Beyond this, these invocations of the strike are anticipatory—signalling the possibility of mass workplace strikes joined to protest movements. In adopting the vernacular of the strike, these movements embody a wager on the future, one in which an invigorated working class movement uses the strike weapon for political as well as economic purposes.

In adopting the vernacular of the strike, these movements embody a wager on the future, one in which an invigorated working class movement uses the strike weapon for political as well as economic purposes.

The year 2016 was a turning point for feminist strikes in this regard, with tens of thousands of women in Poland walking out for reproductive freedom, while a one-hour women’s strike against gender violence and economic discrimination was held in Argentina.19Claire Branigan and Cecilia Palmeiro, “Women Strike in Latin America and Beyond,” NACLA, March 8, 2018. See also Cecilia Nowell, “Argentina’s Ni Una Menos Turns Focus to Economic Crisis, Abortion,” Al Jazeera, June 3, 2019, and Diana Broggi, “Argentina’s Popular Feminism,” Jacobin, March 8, 2019. In Spain, the 2018 and 2019 International Women’s Day strikes, which brought perhaps 800,000 into the streets, involved both two-hour and full-day walkouts from work by women.20“Massive Marches in Spain Display the Strength of the Feminist Movement,” El Pais, March 9, 2019. These feminist strikes thus combine elements of “demonstrative” political strikes with street protests and workplace shutdowns. More than this, they have expanded the tactical inventory of the strike. As the authors of Feminism for the 99%: A Manifesto put it, “the burgeoning movement has invented new ways to strike and infused the strike form itself with a new form of politics. By coupling the withdrawal of labor with marches, demonstrations, small business closures, blockades, and boycotts, the movement is replenishing the repertoire of strike actions, once large but dramatically shrunk by a decades-long neoliberal offensive.”21Aruzza, Bhattacharya, Fraser, Feminism for the 99%, 8.

The return of the mass strike today thus centrally involves the building of oppositional movements that lay claim to the strike form, expand its inventory, and, in so doing, stimulate workplace-based activism. The reclaiming of the strike as a vernacular of struggle owes much to the decade of austerity that has followed the Great Recession of 2008-9. After the world’s rulers spent trillions bailing out private banks, the global economy entered a prolonged low-growth period. Incomes have stagnated, work has become increasingly precarious (especially for young people), and governments have slashed social spending for education, healthcare, pensions, and welfare.22To be clear, I reject the idea of the emergence of a “precariat,” as proposed by Guy Standing in The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class (London: Bloomsbury, 2011). Instead, I argue that working class life—always precarious—has become more so due to processes of de-unionization, casualization, wage compression, and contracting out. Rather than precarity being the attribute of a specific class, it is a condition common to all working class people, to varying degrees. See Kim Moody, On New Terrain: How Capital is Reshaping the Battleground of Class War (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2017): 23-33; and Bryan D. Palmer, “Reconsiderations of Class: Precariousness as Proletarianization,” Socialist Register 2014 (London: Merlin Press, 2013). Poverty and social inequality have soared, and increasing burdens have been placed on households, particularly on women, who frequently take up the slack of caring for the young, the infirm, and the elderly. Communities of color have been hammered by deep cuts to vital social services. And young people, pushed into low-wage jobs—when they can even find employment—have been devastated by rising costs of higher education and unbearable debt burdens.

For all the unique features of conditions in different regions, recent struggles also share a common basis in the circumstances of the Age of Austerity. As a feminist revolutionary in Lebanon has written, “It is no coincidence that similar tropes are emerging across the Global South, igniting workers’ strikes, revolutions as we know them.”23Ghiwa Sayegh, “We Raise Fists, They Shake Fingers: Remembering Feminist Revolutions,” Kohl: A Journal for Body and Gender Research, 5:3 (Winter 2019).

Across the decade since the Great Recession, we have witnessed a series of enormous general strikes (Guadeloupe and Martinique, India, Brazil, South Africa, Colombia, Chile, Algeria, Sudan, South Korea, France, and many more), as well as strike waves that have helped to topple heads of state (Tunisia, Egypt, Puerto Rico, Sudan, Lebanon, Algeria, Iraq). Meanwhile, huge student strikes dramatically changed the political landscape in Chile, Québec, and Colombia. These developments have been inseparable from the surge of feminist movements like #MeToo and the International Women’s Strike, which have expressed themselves in the exhilarating outbreak of strikes against sexual harassment at giant firms like McDonalds and Google. Feminist dynamics also animate the great stream of strikes by teachers, which is remaking labor movements and inspiring uprisings to defend public education.

The return of the strike has further erupted in new technology sectors, where telecom giants like ATT and Verizon have faced walkouts by tens of thousands. The logistics industry has also seen increasing worker activism, particularly at Amazon, where in November 2019 roughly 1,000 workers in Seattle walked out to demand their employer do more about climate change. Then at Christmas came a walkout by Amazon warehouse workers in Sacramento.24Louis Matsakis, “Amazon Employees Wil Walk Out over the Company’s Climate Change Inaction,” Wired, September 9, 2019; Joe Demanuelle-Hall, “Amazon Warehouse Workers Deliver Christmas Walkout,” Labor Notes, January 3, 2020. Perhaps most impressive have been the transnational organizing efforts by Amazon workers, which have contributed to multinational strike action.25Rebecca Burns, “How European Workers Coordinated This Month’s Massive Amazon Strike—And What Comes Next,” In These Times, July 25, 2018; Jorn Boewe and Johannes Schulten, The Long Struggle of Amazon Employees (Brussels: Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, 2018); “Final Declaration of the Transnational Meeting of Amazon Workers in Leipzig, September 27-29, 2019,” available at https://www.transnational-strike.info/2019/11/06/final-declaration-of-the-transnational-meeting-of-amazon-workers-in-leipzig-september-27-29-2019/.

The principal effects of these insurgencies have been qualitative—the growth of militancy, solidarity, and class consciousness, and the reinvention of this classic form of working class struggle. But some of the effects are also registered in quantitative terms. In 2018, for instance, more workers in the U.S. participated in strikes than at any time in more than three decades. Furthermore, polls in the United States register a 64 percent favorability rating for unions—the highest in half a century.26Jeffrey M. Jones, “As Labor Day Turns 125, Union Approval Near Fifty Year High,” Gallup News, August 28, 2019. In 2017, Brazil experienced its biggest general strike in thirty years. In 2019, Chile, Colombia, and France witnessed their largest general strikes in decades, and Puerto Rico its largest one ever. Early 2020 saw at least 150 million workers in India join a national strike.

Of course, quantity and quality are dialectically related. Mass solidarity and creativity draw more into struggle, just as the huge size of strikes and demonstrations fuels self-confidence and inventiveness. The strike is thus not only returning; it is being creatively repurposed for our times. And much of this is inseparable from its reclamation and reinvention for feminist and environmentalist ends—as millions of people around the world pour into the streets to support International Women’s Strikes and Global Climate Strikes.

Mass Strikes Over Social Reproduction: Teachers Lead the Way

If teachers have been in the forefront of the return of the mass strike, this owes much to their crucial position in the social reproduction of working-class households and communities. This, as we shall see, also endows their struggles with critical gender and generational dimensions.

By social reproduction, we refer to all activities associated with the daily and generational reproduction of the working class—cooking, feeding, teaching, nurturing, cleaning, counseling, caring, and more. Some of this work is done by paid laborers, like teachers, social workers, nurses, and other healthcare workers. Much is done as unpaid work in the home and community. A key achievement of social reproduction theory is to highlight this invisibilized work and to remind us that capitalism cannot survive through commodity production alone.27To be sure, other socialist-feminist approaches also developed this insight. But most of these operated with a “dual systems” approach—in which capitalism and patriarchy coexisted and interacted. Social reproduction theory develops a “unitary approach” in which the production of commodities and the reproduction of labor-power are differentiated aspects of a single social process. The following endnote points to key texts in this tradition. Capitalism also requires the multiple labor processes through which fully social human life is produced and reproduced. Fundamental to Marx’s analysis of capitalism, after all, is the insight that without living labor neither commodities nor surplus value can be produced.

The strike is thus not only returning; it is being creatively repurposed for our times.

It follows that capitalist society requires work processes (both paid and unpaid) through which human beings (as bearers of labor-power) are individually, generationally, and culturally reproduced. And in capitalist society the work of social reproduction has always been profoundly gendered, falling disproportionately on women.28For an excellent introduction to the concept of social reproduction see Tithi Bhattacharya, “How Not to Skip Class: Social Reproduction of Labor and the Global Working Class,” Viewpoint Magazine, October 31, 2015. See also Tithi Bhattacharya, ed., Social Reproduction Theory: Remapping Class, Recentering Oppression (London: Pluto Press, 2017), and Ferguson, Women and Work. A foundational text is Lise Vogel, Marxism and the Oppression of Women: Toward a Unitary Theory (1983; rpt. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2014). For an insightful defense of social reproduction theory against a variety of criticisms, see Cinzia Arruzza, “Functionalist, Determinist, Reductionist: Social Reproduction Feminism and its Critics, Science and Society, 80:1 (2016), 9-30. Teachers, who are overwhelmingly women, comprise laborers in the sphere of publicly organized and paid social reproduction. This gives them a unique awareness of the life-needs of their students and their households, and an impulse to raise demands on behalf of their students. When this happens, their workplace struggles can spill over into the wider community of which the school is a part, and even spark uprisings of whole communities.

All of these dynamics become accentuated during a period of neoliberal austerity. As education budgets are cut, as class sizes grow, as public support services for working class children are slashed, teachers bear the brunt of larger classes and more stressed and under-serviced students. Because teachers are on the front lines of the deepening crises brought on by privatization and cuts to social programs, they are provided “with an immediate window and experience of a broader crisis of social reproduction.”29Comment by Kate Doyle Griffiths in Jeffery R. Webber, “The Return of the Strike: A Forum on the Teachers’ Rebellion in the United States,” Historical Materialism, 26.4 (2018), 139. Teachers know that many of their working-class students receive breakfast and/or their only hot meal of the day at school. They understand that, as social services fray, they and other school staff are increasingly responsible for their students’ physical and mental health challenges. They see the ways Black students are confronted by systemic racism in schooling, and the ways migrant students are haunted by threats of harassment and deportation.30See Ashley Smith, “Teachers’ Movements Gain Community Support by Centering Social Justice: Interview with Gillian Russom,” Truthout, April 3, 2019. When they rise up, they often do so as much on behalf of their students as themselves. The needs of their students merge with their own, as is compressed in the widespread slogan, “Our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions.”

The great teachers’ strike of 2006 in the Mexican state of Oaxaca is a stirring example of just this pattern—which was repeated, sometimes in lower registers, in their further strikes of 2014 and 2019. These teachers are acutely aware that 70 percent of Oaxacans live in poverty, and that half lack electricity or running water. As much as they sought improved pay and working conditions, Oaxaca’s teachers also struck for the basic social and material needs of their students. They demanded free books, pencils, school uniforms, and one free pair of shoes every year for all schoolchildren. They further called for regular school visits by doctors, and for increased medical supplies to community health clinics. The teachers of Oaxaca understood that for their students to thrive, basic material needs must be met. Their strike immediately became a rallying point for everyone fighting for improved conditions of life. More than this, it generated new forms of working class power that briefly contested for control of their city.31Richard Roman and Edur Velasco Arregui, “Mexico’s Oaxaca Commune,” Socialist Register 2008 (London: Merlin Press, 2007). See also Diana Denham and the CASA Collective, Teaching Rebellion: Stories from the Grassroots Resistance in Oaxaca (Oakland: PM Press, 2008).

While Oaxaca is an extreme case, similar contestations over social reproduction have also characterized teachers’ struggles in the United States since 2012. In that year, Chicago educators kicked off the upsurge of teacher activism in the United States. But what Chicago teachers achieved in 2012 was a direct product of their commitment to social justice unionism in alliance with community organizations. The Coalition of Rank and File Educators (CORE), whose candidates were elected to the leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) in 2010, had done the heavy lifting in this regard. CORE not only patiently built its base among educators over several years; it also joined working class communities of color in fights against planned school closures. In a critical document, The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve, the CTU called out the racism and “apartheid-like” system governing the city’s schools. In so doing, the revived union signaled its commitment to fighting on behalf of the city’s multiracial working class and its public schools.32Chicago Teachers Union, The Schools That Chicago’s Children Deserve (Chicago: CTU, February 2012).

When teachers walked out in 2012, students and parents flocked to picket lines and daily downtown rallies. “The city was blanketed with striking educators, all clad in red union t-shirts,” remarked one analyst. “The entire city felt transformed.”33Micah Uetricht, Strike for America: Chicago Teachers Against Austerity (London: Verso Books, 2014), 65, 66, and 70 for growing public support for the strikers. And when teachers finally returned to work, they did so with gains for their students, such as guarantees of textbooks on the first day of school and increased budgets for classroom supplies. Through CORE’s organizing and coalition-building efforts, “The CTU transformed itself . . . into the principal organization fighting for educational justice” in Chicago.34Uetricht, Strike for America: 79. For background on the decades-long fight for racial justice in Chicago schools see Elizabeth Todd-Breland, A Political Education: Black Politics and Education Reform in Chicago Since the 1960s (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2018).

Seven years later, in October 2019, the CTU took to the picket lines again, this time determined to make substantial gains for their students. And in a sign of growing solidarity, they walked out alongside 7,500 special education assistants, custodians, and bus aides (represented by SEIU Local 73). Once again, working class students and parents rallied in solidarity with the unions. And when the dust settled, the CTU had won significant improvements in areas that fall well outside the bounds of conventional collective bargaining. Their new contract compels the city to invest an additional $1.5 billion in its public schools over five years. Other gains include enforceable caps on class sizes; an additional 750 full-time support staff; and guarantees of one nurse and one social worker in every school.

Perhaps most impressive, the union won major advances on immigrant rights—including language that strengthens the sanctuary status of schools—and big improvements for students experiencing insecure housing, including free public transportation and clothing for their families, increased stipends, and greater access to city housing services. All of these—housing, transportation, clothing, along with improved access to nurses and social workers—represent conditions of daily social reproduction of students and their families.35Alan Maass, “’When We Fight, We Win:’ Chicago Teachers Score Another Victory for Public Education,” The Nation, November 4, 2019. In all these ways, the CTU proved that it is possible to bargain—and strike—for the common good.

As much as it has been a trailblazer, the CTU is not alone in this sort of social justice unionism. Throughout 2018, teachers’ unions in Puerto Rico waged a daring campaign to prevent the closure of hundreds of schools, and to stop school privatizations and the firing of thousands of educators. Organizing strikes, boycotts, occupations, and mass demonstrations, the teachers toppled two governors, blocked most of the school closures, and inflicted a huge blow to school privatizations. More than this, they built a coalition of feminists, environmentalists, unions, students, and parents in defense of public education, one that brought more than 50,000 people into the streets in a popular upheaval that has opened up new space for radical politics.36Meghan Brophy, “Puerto Rico: The Teacher Uprising the Media is Ignoring,” Labor Notes, May 14, 2018; Mercedes Martinez and Monique Dols, “Teachers Fighting for Public Schools Were Key to the Uprising in Puerto Rico, Labor Notes, August 15, 2019.

In a similar vein, 34,000 Los Angeles teachers walked off the job in early 2019. Acutely aware that more than 80 percent of their students rely on subsidized meals to get by, these educators too raised social justice demands. With a leadership that came out of the left-wing Union Power caucus, the union drew on a huge reservoir of public support, regularly staging downtown rallies of 50,000 people, and winning major gains for their students and their communities. As a result of the strike, the school district has declared a moratorium on new charter schools, and agreed to reduce most class sizes. In addition, the district has agreed to hire more school nurses, librarians, and counselors; to reduce standardized testing; to limit random police searches of students; and to create a defense fund for immigrant students.37Barbara Madeloni, “L.A. Teachers Win Big and Beat Back Privatizers,” Labor Notes, January 24, 2019; Samantha Winslow, “L.A. Teachers Showed Us How It’s Done,” Labor Notes, January 25, 2019. The last gain shows that—as in Chicago—anti-racism has been at the heart of the revival of teacher unionism in L.A., just as it figured significantly in the illegal Arizona teachers’ strike of 2018.38Magally Miranda Alcázar, “Red for Ed in LA,” Commune, January 28, 2019; Alia Wong, “The Unique Racial Dynamics of the L.A. Teachers’ Strike,” The Atlantic, January 14, 2019; and Ashley Smith, “Teachers Movements.” With respect to anti-racist dimensions of the Arizona teachers’ strike of 2018, see Eric Blanc, Red State Revolt: The Teachers’ Strikes and Working-Class Politics (London: Verso Books, 2019), 68.

In campaigning over the conditions of social reproduction, teachers’ struggles reach into the community. They fight for smaller class sizes, for nurses and social workers in the schools, for more Black educators, for access to housing, and for sanctuary schools—thereby encouraging working class communities to rise in solidarity with them. Teachers’ strikes thus have an inherent potential to become people’s movements, rebellions of subaltern communities against neoliberalism and austerity. As a Los Angeles teacher-activist has put it, “the extent to which you can frame your strike around social justice is directly related to the kind of public support you’re going to get.”39Gillian Russom, as quoted by Ashley Smith, “Teacher’s Movement.”

To be sure, U.S. teachers’ strikes have yet to become generalized mass strikes. They have yet to inspire a wide array of workers and unions to join with working class communities in coordinated strikes against the neoliberal policies of late capitalism. Yet, in their willingness to defy the law (West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona), and in their determination to strike on behalf of students and their households (Chicago, Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, Oaxaca), their strikes embody elements of insurgent mass strikes—and prefigure the possibility of larger ones.

Mass strikes of this sort, albeit at different levels of development, emerged in countries like Chile, Colombia, Sudan, Algeria, and France throughout 2019. Elements of the mass strike could further be observed in rebellions in Haiti, Lebanon, Iraq, and Hong Kong. And feminist and climate justice protests assumed the form of what Luxemburg called “demonstrative” mass strikes—strikes organized as political protests, although the degree of workplace-based mobilization remained highly uneven. Finally, education strikes in Los Angeles and Chicago displayed aspects of mass strikes in a single city. Not only do education strikes reach beyond the workplace and into working class communities. In addition, a stirring spirit of class solidarity is on display every time striking teachers leave picket lines to make meals for their students, sometimes working with churches and municipal institutions to prepare hot food, and to deliver it to people’s homes, and when students, parents, and others join picket lines and demonstrations with educators on strike.40Tithi Bhattacharya, “Women are Leading the Wave of Strikes in America. Here’s Why,” Guardian, April 10, 2018; Blanc, 78.

It should be underlined that organizers of the socialist left have often played outsize roles in these strikes, particularly those of educators. These radicals have organized rank and file networks, promoted anti-racist campaigns, built solidarity and militancy, and advocated the necessity at times to defy the law. Historical experience shows that the growth of “militant minorities” of socialist activists in workplaces and unions will weigh heavily in the balance of future struggles.

Student Strikes and Labor Uprisings

On the other side of the social reproductive relation in education are the students. And far from passive products of the system, high school and university students are increasingly laying claim to the mass strike, building forms of assembly-style democracy, occupying public space, overturning neoliberal policies, and inspiring larger social uprisings. So mutually reinforcing are their struggles that students and teachers might be said to engage a dance of the dialectic in which each group’s militancy fuels an expanding choreography of resistance. In some cases, it is the teachers who have sparked activism by students and working class parents. In other cases, it is students who spark combative labor action.

Concentrated on large campuses, students are instructed to prepare themselves for their futures. This can have a radicalizing effect, as they ponder a future characterized by inequality, racism, war, imperialism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia, authoritarianism, and environmental catastrophe. Since 2008 especially, contemplating their future in a post-Great Recession world of intensifying inequality and climate disasters, students have displayed a capacity for insurgent action.

“You had a future, and so should we,” chanted perhaps a quarter-million youthful protesters in the streets of New York on September 20, 2019. They were joined by millions in cities like Kampala, Rio de Janeiro, London, Manila, Berlin, Dhaka, and Melbourne in a global outpouring of roughly four million people. A week later two million more added their voices in over 2,400 climate justice actions around the world. Significantly, these millions of young people and their supporters walked out, rallied, and demonstrated under the banner of the Global Climate Strike, identifying their activism with the classic weapon of workers’ struggle. Coupled with the mounting evidence of an ecological emergency, youth-led climate strikes have prompted unions to discuss shutting down workplaces as part of the movement.

In the United States, activists with the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the National Union of Healthcare Workers are debating the idea of strike action in support of a Green New Deal.41Sydney Ghazarian, “The Climate Strikers Walked Out of School. Next, Let’s Walk Off the Job,” In These Times, November 5, 2019. And in Québec, where student strikes defeated neoliberal education reforms in both 2012 and 2015, strike action for climate justice has already begun. Eleven local unions in Québec, representing 7,500 workers, defied the law and voted to walk out as part of the Global Climate Strike on September 27, 2019 that drew half a million people into the streets of Montréal. Not surprisingly, the first unions to support such strike action were college teachers, who have been strongly influenced by the culture of combativity fostered by the Québec student strikes of recent years. In fact, many union activists in education and healthcare first gained organizing experience as striking students.42Alain Savard, “How Seven Thousand Québec Workers Went on Strike against Climate Change,” Labor Notes, October 25, 2019. For background on the Québec students strike of recent years, see Alain Savard, “Keeping the Student Strike Alive,” Jacobin, September 4, 2016.

Something similar, albeit on a larger scale, is at work in Chile, which, at the time of writing (December 2019), was experiencing a semi-insurrectionary surge of general strikes and street protests. In Chile too, student strikes played a catalyzing role, notably the mass protests of 2011-13 for free education and healthcare, public pensions, and worker rights. The militant student movement induced such an outpouring of public support that the United Workers Center staged a two-day general strike in August 2011, when 600,000 people took to the streets. The student movement of 2011-13 considerably revived street-based activism and the idea of the protest strike. Then came the “Feminist May” of 2018, when students at 25 universities struck for two months around a broad array of feminist and pro-trans demands. “It was an unparalleled uprising,” wrote four leftist scholars, “the first great feminist revolution in the country.”43Pablo Aravena, German Albuquerque, Osvaldo Fernandez, and Claudia Rojas, “What Has Just Happened in Chile?” translated from the Spanish original by Eva Astorga Tapia, LeftEast, December 20, 2019. This was followed by mass participation in the International Women’s Strike on March 8, 2019.

The magnificent Chilean social uprising of 2019 is a crucial reminder of the rebellious capacity of the working class, even when it has suffered the extremes of violent neoliberalism. The Chilean events had a specific spark–a 30-peso hike in transit fares–but sparks produce a social conflagration only when conditions are ripe. And ripe they were, both in terms of percolating anger about the hardships of everyday life, and in terms of a burgeoning sense of combativity. This is reflected in one of the main slogans of the movement, “it’s not 30 pesos, it’s 30 years.” Three decades of resentment were already finding expression in a mounting spirit of resistance, fueled by activism among students, feminists, indigenous movements, and dockworkers. All this made it possible for a youth rebellion against fare hikes to kick-start a crescendo of demonstrations, riots, strikes, and street battles that have shaken the very foundations of neoliberalism in Chile.

In a country where the minimum wage is $437 per month, the move by the Chilean government in early October to increase transit fares to one dollar per trip came as a bitter shock. High school students immediately began a fare evasion campaign, jumping turnstiles and openly defying the authorities. Soon growing numbers of workers who commute to their jobs joined in. The government abruptly turned to arrests, beatings, and brutal repression, declaring a state of emergency in Santiago, the capital city. But this served merely to inflame the situation. In a two-day uprising after the repression, young people trashed eighty transit stops, burning whole stations to the ground. Other sites soon came under popular scrutiny, with scores of Walmart stores also being attacked. Rather than such militancy costing it support, the movement won the solidarity of the Union of Metro Workers. Then feminists in the March 8 Coalition (Coordinadora feminista 8 de marzo) assembled with students, environmentalists, and community groups to call a general strike. Despite the main labor federation sitting on the sidelines, a number of unions rallied in support, and a wave of strikes began.44On the early weeks of the Chilean uprising see René Rojas, “If We Don’t Fuck Shit Up, We Don’t Exist to Them,” Jacobin, October 22, 2019; Tendencia Socialista Revolucionaria, “The October Uprising,” International Viewpoint, October 21, 2019; Barbara Fernandez Melleda, “The Chilean Spring (Part One): Tip of the Iceberg,” Alborada, October 21, 2019.

Vital to the broadening of the movement were the dockworkers, as they often have been in recent years. Notwithstanding an extreme casualization of their workforce—in which many contracts last no more than a single shift—the Dockworkers Union of Chile (Union Portuaria) has won a number of decisive struggles against their employers, memorably with month-long strikes in 2013 and 2014.45See Katy Fox-Hodess, “Interview: Chilean Dockworkers Organize Month-Long Strike and Face Down Police in Rooftop Standoff,” Labor Notes, February 21, 2019. See also Katy Fox-Hodess, “Building Labour Internationalism ‘from Below’: Lessons from the International Dockworkers Council’s European Working Group,” Work, Employment and Society, 34:1 (2020). By mid-October 2019, they began shutting down the country’s ports in a series of general strikes and demonstrations. Meanwhile, alongside dockworker mobilizations, the movement in the streets kept radicalizing, broadening its demands to include reforms to education and pensions, and a rewriting of the national constitution.

The mounting popular pressure soon brought other unions and social movements directly into the struggle. This resulted in a multi-union general strike on October 21, when one million people in the streets defied the state of emergency. By this point, the strategically important unions in the mining sector were also walking out in solidarity with the popular struggle.46Laura Millan Lombrana, “Chile Faces Mine Stoppages as Workers Join Protests,” Bloomberg.com, October 21, 2019. The Dockworkers Union immediately followed this up by launching a 48-hour shutdown of the ports—and again prompting a general strike on October 30. While dockworkers kept calling strikes in the ports in response to the movement in the streets, the wider labor movement kept pace, with further national strikes on November 12 and November 25-27.47A good overview of these dockworker struggles is provided by Sean Robertson, “Chile: Dockworkers Union in the Frontline of Struggle Against Pinera,” Left Voice, December 3, 2019. As one general strike cascaded into another, as students kept up the fare evasion campaign, as casualized workers walked out, the movement began to assume features of genuine mass strikes of the sort classically analyzed by Rosa Luxemburg.48In a second part of this article, in issue 2 of Spectre, I will discuss Rosa Luxemburg’s theory of the mass strike at some length. Insurgent strikes, argued Luxemburg, tend to become self-expanding, drawing in an ever-wider range of oppressed people and broadening the horizons (and demands) of the struggle. In fact, we also see in Chile the emergence of new forms of popular self-organization from below, from volunteer medical brigades and peoples’ kitchens to more developed community, student, and workplace assemblies.49Galia Aguuilera, “Rebelión popular: qué son los Comités de Emergencia y Resguardo,” La Izquierda Diario Chile,” November 3, 2019; Matias Maiello, “Chile and the New Cycle of Class Struggle in Latin America,” Left Voice, October 30, 2019; Bree Busk, “The Popular Assemblies at the Heart of the Chilean Uprising,” Roar, December 11, 2019.

But no account of the Chilean strike movement could be complete without discussing the catalyzing role of feminist activism, to which I have alluded. So powerfully important is feminist insurgency to the upheaval in Chile that I will return in detail to it—and to the decisive role of feminist contestations in the mass movements in Sudan, Lebanon, Iraq, Hong Kong, and Colombia. But let me first outline some of the dynamics of diversity and generality driving the upsurges in those countries.

Unity and Difference: Solidarities of Struggle

One continuing challenge for the global left is to think difference and unity together. This applies to all the ways in which we seek to understand the working class as both a socially differentiated and structurally united group. This is what it means to think of the proletariat as a “unity of the diverse.”50My efforts to think working class difference and unity together include “’Unity of the Diverse’: Working Class Formations and Popular Politics from Cochabamba to Cairo” in Marxism and Social Movements, ed. Colin Barker et al. (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2013), 401-23; “The Dialectics of Unity and Difference in the Constitution of Wage-Labor: On Internal Relations and Working Class Formation,” Capital and Class, 39:1 (2015), 131-46; “Intersections and Dialectics: Critical Reconstructions in Social Reproduction Theory” in Social Reproduction Theory: Remapping Class, Recentering Oppression, ed. Tithi Bhattacharya (London: Pluto Press, 2017), 94-111. In contrast to a class reductionism that calls for subsuming differences, these movements demonstrate that any genuine mass movement will provide space for the expression of opposition to specific social oppressions. Teachers’ strikes in Chicago and Los Angeles have foregrounded anti-racism and immigrant rights, as did the one-day November 2019 walkout by educators in Little Rock, Arkansas, who struck against racial re-segregation of their schools.51Sarah Jones, Little Rock Teachers Refuse to Relive the Bad Old Days,” New York Magazine, November 14, 2019. One key weakness of the teachers’ strike in Kentucky was the failure of the teachers’ union there to oppose a racist anti-gang bill. See Pranav Jani and Flynn Murray, “What Road Will Lead Kentucky Teachers Forward?”, Socialist Worker (US), April 23, 2018. In the same vein, 25,000 hospital and campus workers in the University of California system have waged five strikes since 2017 that target racism in hiring and training. Eighty percent of the union’s members are workers of color, and the local has been guided by its Racial Justice Working Group.52Chris Brooks, “University of California Workers Strike for Racial Justice,” Labor Notes, November 20, 2018. Meanwhile, mass struggles in Chile, Ecuador, and Colombia have encouraged the use of indigenous slogans and flags, and called for solidarity with indigenous self-determination. In one global uprising after another, LGBTQ activists have carried banners and flags at marches and rallies. And everywhere, feminist slogans, banners, and demands have energized struggles.

In contrast to a class reductionism that calls for subsuming differences, these movements demonstrate that any genuine mass movement will provide space for the expression of opposition to specific social oppressions.

All of these rebellions are responses to systemic patterns of economic stagnation, mass youth unemployment, growing poverty and social inequality, intensifying gender, racial, and sexual oppression, ever-more voracious elites, and aggressive austerity programs that undermine public services. And in case after case, youth rebellions, profoundly inflected by feminism, have ignited popular uprisings.

In Lebanon too, it was a hike to costs of everyday social life that sparked revolt. In mid-October the government announced a new tax on the web application WhatsApp, a free platform for phone and video calls. The response was immediate and formidable. Like Chile, Lebanon was overflowing with frustrated young people ready to combust. Years of debt and fiscal crises, currency shortages, deteriorating water and electricity systems, mounting unemployment, extreme inequality, and environmental crises had sapped people’s patience.53For excellent discussions of the background to and dynamics of the October Revolution in Lebanon, see Jeffrey G. Karam and Sana Tannoury-Karam, “The Lebanese Intifada: Observations and Reflections on Revolutionary Times,” Jadaliyya, November 10, 2019; and Rima Majed, “Lebanon’s October Revolution: Hope in the Midst of Crisis,” Research Analytical Note for The Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice, Princeton University, December 7, 2019. On inequality in Lebanon see also Lydia Assouad, “L’économie rentière de Liban a engendré des niveaux d’inégalité extrêmes,” Le Monde, November 18, 2019. When thousands took to the streets to protest the WhatsApp tax, they ignited an uprising.

More than that, since its inception the upheaval has had a profoundly anti-sectarian character. Since the end, thirty years ago, of its civil war, Lebanon has had a formally sectarianized political system. And elites have charged the protesters with tipping the country back toward civil war. But the insurgents explicitly reject sectarian identities, counterposing to them a class-inflected sense of unity. In this spirit, crowds have regularly poured through the streets chanting, “You are the civil war, we are the revolution.”54Jenny Gustafsson, “Lebanon’s Peaceful Protesters Have One Demand: The Whole Rotten Elite Must Go,” November 19, 2019, available at https://www.juancole.com/2019/11/lebanons-peaceful-protesters.html.

Towns and cities across Lebanon have witnessed an unending procession of mass demonstrations, student walkouts, occupations of public space (including beaches and buildings), feminist rallies, workplace strikes, and street battles that are rewriting the order of social life. In movement space, communal kitchens and legal clinics operate. Animating all these struggles has been a transformational wave of feminist activism, as women lead marches, sit-ins, and roadblocks; as they chant “Our revolution is a feminist revolution;” and as they publicly campaign against sexual harassment. In the development of the movement, strikes by high school and university students once again served as detonators.55Timour Azhari, “Lebanon Students Skip School as Protesters Eye State Institutions,” Al Jazeera, November 6, 2019; Kareem Chehayeb, “For 2020, Lebanese Protesters Vow to Make New Year Revolutions,” Middle East Eye, January 1, 2020. The revolution has also had a clear class character, with working class demonstrators joining the protests in large numbers. Especially significant is the way in which teachers and public employees, among others, are creating new workers’ organizations. These are harbingers of an independent labor movement,56A point made powerfully by Sana Tannoury-Karam, “A Lebanese October Revolution,” lecture at the University of Houston, November 12, 2019. See also Karam and Tannoury-Karam. even if protest strikes are yet to attain the breadth, duration, and intensity seen in Chile.

The revolution in Lebanon was soon joined by a rising of millions in Iraq. Once more, a “student awakening” sparked the upheaval.57“Protesters Seal off Baghdad Bridges as Thousands Join General Strike,” France 24, November 17, 2019. The Iraqi state responded with brutal violence and repression.58The Iraqi government’s repression has been aided and abetted by Shia militias backed by Iran. More than 400 protesters have been killed as of December 2019, and over 15,000 wounded. Notwithstanding this murderous force, the movement continued to surge forth, toppling a prime minister, while continuing to demand much more sweeping changes. Tahrir Square in Baghdad has become a veritable center of people’s power. Popular security forces protect the square; revolutionary murals go up on city walls; food is cooked and distributed; free libraries operate, as do medical clinics; meetings and assemblies are organized; poetry and hip hop raise spirits. “It is now our land,” a 19-year-old rebel proclaims.”59Quoted by Mustafa Habib, “Welcome to Freedom: Visiting the Square in Baghdad, Where Protesters Rule a Utopian Iraq,” Niqash: Briefings from Inside and Across Iraq, available at https://www.niqash.org/en/articles/politics/6019/. On poetry and hip hop in the revolution, see Fanar Haddad, “Hip Hop, Poetry and Shia Iconography: How Tahrir Square Gave Birth to a New Iraq,” Middle East Eye, December 9, 2019 Nearby, a 14-storey building nicknamed the “Turkish restaurant” has been seized and transformed by revolutionaries.

An insurgent newspaper carries regular news of the struggle. Named Tuk Tuk, after the three-wheeled vehicles that crisscross Tahrir, the paper’s name also pays tribute to the young workers who are at the heart of the revolution, given that the drivers of the three-wheelers are overwhelmingly young. While the movement is not party-led, left-wing political ideas are everywhere. One feminist activist in Tahrir insists that for the protesters the widely invoked term musawa (or equality) also means socialism. “Of course we want socialism,” she declares, “all people want this.”60Feminist activist Iqbal, as quoted by Ansar Jasim and Schluwa Sama, “A Country is in the Making: Report from Baghdad’s Occupied Tahrir Square,” Open Democracy, November 21, 2019. The movement has yet to solve the strategic problem of extending the strikes in order to shut down the oil fields and choke off the flow of profits. But in myriad ways, a left-wing working class sensibility, deeply shaped by feminism, is being forged in the thick of battle.61As this article was being finished, the assassination in Iraq of Iran’s General Qasem Soleimani by the Trump administration cast an ominous shadow over the future of the Iraqi uprising. Some of the challenges emerging at the time were broached by Bilal Zenab Ahmed, “Why Trump’s Actions May Lead to Iran Occupying Iraq,” Verso Blog, January 8, 2020.

The uprising in Hong Kong observes a number of parallel dynamics.62For first-rate reporting and analysis of the Hong Kong uprising see the extensive coverage by the Lausan Collective, available here: https://lausan.hk/, and the ongoing articles by Colin Sparks published by rs21 in Britain, available here: https://www.rs21.org.uk/. Driven once more by students—whole universities have at times been turned into scenes of pitched battles with police—the movement has captured huge popular support. Not only has it brought up to two million people into the streets in defense of democracy and against social inequality. It has also provided an opening for opposition groups to crush pro-government candidates in local elections. Workers in banking, education, transportation, and public service regularly participate in the struggle in Hong Kong. And in August hundreds of thousands of workers for the airlines and the flight industry took strike action.63Au Loong-Yu, “Continuous Rebellion in Hong Kong,” International Viewpoint, December 27, 2019. But the relative weakness of independent unions has meant that hugely effective student strikes have yet to translate into coordinated mass strikes at workplaces.64See Ralph Ruckus, “’Saam Baa” in Hong Kong – Three Strikes Paralyze the City,” NonCopyRiot, November 18, 2019. Notwithstanding the title, this article explores the weakness of workplace strikes in the Hong Kong uprising.

In a promising development, however, twenty-five new unions emerged during the course of 2019—among workers in healthcare, construction, engineering, infotech, hospitality services, and more.65Jeffie Lam, “From Two-Star Michelin Chef to Union Organiser, Hong Kong Chef’s Career Path is not What He Had in Mind,” South China Morning Post, December 26, 2019. Overlapping with these developments, the democratic Confederation of Trade Unions has announced an organizing drive designed to build the independent labor movement in Hong Kong.66Colin Sparks, “Hong Kong: Opportunities for the Movement,” rs21, December 17, 2019. Then, on the million-strong New Year’s Day 2020 march, a new slogan rang out, “Resist tyranny, join a union”—a sign of a burgeoning class consciousness.67Holmes Chan, “’Resist Tyranny, Join a Union’: Huge Turnout as Hongkongers Hit the Streets for NewYear’s Protest,” Hongkongfp.com, January 1, 2020. Many activists now see the building of independent unions as the key to carrying the struggle forward.68Sara Wu, “Hong Kong Workers Flock to Labor Unions as New Protest Tactic, Reuters, January 9, 2020. All of which is a reminder that youth-driven upheavals can ignite bursts of workplace organizing and activism, which could prove decisive in the coming years.

In the meantime, two other recent struggles—in Colombia and France—have experienced considerably greater success in terms of initiating mass strike movements. In Colombia, national student strikes in both 2018 and 2019 played a crucial role in cultivating a mood of defiance and resistance. In October 2018, striking university students shut down 45 schools to protest underfunding of public universities, winning the active support of the public school teachers’ union among other labor groups. When 15,000 students and supporters took to the streets on October 17, feminist slogans filled the air. “Education: public, free of charge, and anti-patriarchal,” demonstrators chanted.69Isabelle Bartter, “Colombia Students Strike Against Education Cuts,” Socialist Worker (U.S.), October 23, 2018.

Meanwhile, strikes and highway blockades by indigenous peoples converged with another round of student strikes in 2019 to further promote a growing atmosphere of resistance. Then in November 2019, mounting anger over a package of government attacks on pensions and labor rights, along with new taxes on the poor, provoked a general strike called by unions, LGBTQ groups, indigenous movements, and student organizations. The November 21 national strike took on a series of feminist, environmental, indigenous, and union demands. The result was explosive, triggering a wave of nightly street parties, daily mass demonstrations, street battles with police, and ongoing strike activity. In the midst of the upsurge, neighborhood assemblies emerged as embryonic institutions of popular power.70Isabel Penaranda and Julian Gomez-Delgado, “Colombia’s New Awakening,” Jacobin, December 8, 2019; Pablo Medina Uribe, “Behind the National Strike in Colombia,” NACLA News, November 27, 2019. A week later, another general strike shook the ruling order. As hundreds of thousands took to the streets waving indigenous, LGBTQ, and Colombian flags, the strike, in the words of one commentator, “morphed into a popular movement that is attracting more support each day amid massive street demonstrations.”71Carla Gonzalez, “Colombia’s Indigenous Peoples Join National Strike in Bogota,” Telesur, November 29, 2019.

As 2019 drew to a close, similar dynamics appeared to be in play in France, where unions have been considerably weakened after decades of neoliberalism. The strike movement there started in December, when the government of Emmanuel Macron introduced legislation raising the age for pensions, and restructuring the pension system in ways that would hurt women and those whose work lives had involved especially precarious employment.72The pension “reforms” proposed by French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron involved both an across-the-board hiking of the pensionable age and attacks on the “special regimes” that allow for earlier retirement ages for groups involved in often more taxing work, like sewage workers, opera dancers, and railway workers. For a good overview see Plateform d’Enquêtes Militantes, “’Grévolution: First Round of a General Strike, Verso Blog, January 9, 2020. A key influence on the strike movement was the series of feminist mobilizations against gender violence mere weeks earlier. Once strike action was called, railway and public transportation unions led the way, but the movement was rapidly joined by teachers, energy workers, fire fighters, and students, along with many others. December 5 saw an enormous and spirited general strike, followed by two more national strikes over the following fourteen days. As some groups engaged in rotating strikes, others conducted unlimited walkouts. Throughout December, railways and public transit were crippled, schools closed, electricity supply disrupted. The largest day of action saw 1.8 million demonstrators fill the streets.

So powerful were the walkouts that on December 16 a traffic jam of 391 miles was recorded amid the dislocation of transit shutdowns. The movement surged to these levels in part because it incorporated militant direct action tactics deployed by recent youth and student struggles, by the Yellow Vest (gilets jaunes) movement, and by climate justice campaigners. In particular, activists have adopted the blockade—of roads, distribution centers, universities, ports, subway stations, and major factories—that has been used so effectively by the Yellow Vests.73For an excellent analysis of the French strikes and the tactical inspiration provided by the Yellow Vests, see Daniel Taylor, “France’s General Strike: 21st Century Class Struggle,” Red Flag (Australia), January 17, 2020. Equally crucial, strikers have established general assemblies open to all participants in the struggle, where democratic decisions are taken concerning the strategy and tactics of the movement.

A critical achievement, as one activist group comments, is that the movement has undertaken “a real reinvention of the strike weapon in the face of the challenges of contemporary capitalism.”74See Plateform d’Enquêtes Militantes, “’Grévolution.” In making the struggle a wide-ranging one against the rampant inequalities of French society, the movement has won broad sympathy, with opinion polls consistently showing sizeable majorities in support of the strike. Indicative of this spirit of solidarity, around Christmas power workers restored electricity to poor homes at cheap rates, while shutting off businesses and police stations.75“Electricity Strikers in France Light Up Poor Homes This Christmas, Cut Power and Gas to Bosses and Police,” the freeonline, December 26, 2019.

And as 2020 opened, two major union federations called for a three-day general strike in early January, and nurses, teachers, students, sanitation workers, and lawyers powerfully answered the call while hundreds of thousands again took to the streets.76“Retraites: vers une intense mobilization du 9 au 11 janvier,” Huffington Post, January 3, 2019; Angelique Chrisafis, “France Strike: Nurses, Teachers, and Lawyers Join Pension Strike,” The Guardian, January 9, 2020. In France too, however, a decades-long erosion of union activism weighs down the struggle and could thwart its aims. Yet, however it is resolved, the December-January strike movement in France, the largest and most confrontational in twenty-five years, had rekindled working class struggle and grassroots organizing against neoliberal capitalism.77Danica Jordan, “Last Straw as Teachers in France Join Nationwide Strike,” Common Dreams, December 10, 2019; Angela Charlton and Elaine Ganley, “France on Strike: Power Cuts, Schools Shut, No Eiffel Tower, Associated Press, December 17, 2019; “France Records 391-Mile Traffic Jam as Public Transport Brought to Halt by Third Week of Strike Over Pension Changes,” ITV News, December 16, 2019; Alastair Jamieson, “French Strikes Latest: Unions Warn No ‘Christmas Truce’ in Sight as Protests Continue,” Euronews, December 18, 2019;  Angelique Chrisafis, “Striking French Rail Workers Clash with Riot Police,” The Guardian, December 23, 2019. For a thoughtful overview, see Maxime Quijoux and Guillaume Gourgues, “France’s Strikes Show the Unions are Alive,” Jacobin, January 8, 2020; and Axel Persson (interviewed by Soraya Guénifi and Clément Petitjean, “This Strike is Uniting the Resistance Against Macron,” Jacobin, January 11, 2020.

Something similar might be said of the huge uprising of students in India that also erupted in December 2019 against the Modi government’s racist, anti-Muslim citizenship law. Student protests at scores of universities drew millions into action in a campaign that shows the possibility of revitalizing the forces of the secular left.78See Sandipto Dasgupta, “The Fight for India’s Democracy, From the University to the Streets,” The Wire, January 12, 2020 The youth-driven protests, which have featured exhilarating forms of multiracial solidarity, were answered with plans for general strikes of unions, peasant and women’s organizations, and students. Left parties and trade unions organized a week of protest for the beginning of January 2020, linking demands against privatization and for an improved minimum wage with a call for the withdrawal of the anti-Muslim citizenship laws. The protests culminated in a huge general strike of at least 150 million workers, peasants, and students on January 8. That strike—supported by ten union federations alongside organizations of women, rural workers, and students—saw ports, railways, banks, and factories shut down; streets, highways, and railway lines blockaded; and over sixty universities and colleges closed by student strikes.79Subodh Varma, “Largest Ever Strike in India Shakes Up Modi Government,” Newsclick, January 8, 2020. For an overview of the events in India see Samanth Subramanian, “Indian Democracy is Fighting Back,” The Atlantic, December 24, 2019. See also Sidarth Bhatia, “India’s Young are the Real Heroes of the Year,” The Wire, December 27, 2019; Achin Vanaik (interviewed by Thomas Crowley), “Modi Might Have Gone Too Far,” Jacobin, December 22, 2019; and Chandrima Chakraborty, “Why is Indian Prime Minister Modi Attacking Student Protesters?”, The Conversation, January 6, 2020. Some commentators suggested that perhaps 250 million workers struck. But Vijay Prashad puts the figure at around 150 million and I have followed him on this. See Prashad, “Here’s What a Real Strike Looks Like: 150 Million Say No to Despotism in India,” Common Dreams, January 8, 2019.

In Haiti, strikes against fuel hikes and government corruption in June and September 2019 stimulated widespread protests. In both Algeria (March-April 2019) and Sudan (June 2019) multi-day general strikes actually toppled heads of state but have been unable to win key demands. By early November 2019, the movement in Algeria felt compelled to launch another three-day national strike. Millions walked off the job in 37 of the country’s 48 provinces, joined by students who closed schools throughout the nation.80“Sudan Protesters Begin Two-Day Strike to Pressure Military,” Al Jazeera, May 28, 2019; Ruth Michaelson, “Algerians Begin General Strike Against Bouteflika’s Rule,” The Guardian, March 10, 2019; IndustriALL Global Union, “Population Out in Force for General Strike in Algeria,” November 7, 2019. Then in December, a four-day strike, supported by independent unions and the social movements, was waged in Béjaia province against Algeria’s illegitimate presidential election.81MENA Solidarity Network, “How Grassroots Democracy Powered Béjaia’s General Strike Against Algerian Presidential Election” (interview with Kamel Aissat, trans. Anne Alexander), menasolidaritynetwork.com, December 31, 2019.

All of these strike waves represent a new global cycle of working class struggle. Students and youth have often provided the lead—one which has been answered and frequently superseded by militant workplace strikes, insurgent street demonstrations, and even new forms of assembly-style democracy. But no assessment of the new global wave of popular insurgence deserves to be taken seriously if it neglects the gender dimension of these upheavals.

Class Struggle Feminism in the Streets

As should be evident, at the heart of the recomposition of working class struggles today is a powerful fusion of feminism and the strike. This fusion is perhaps most politically advanced in the International Women’s Strike and its program of a “feminism for the 99%.”82Cinzia Arruzza, Tithi Bhattacharya, and Nancy Fraser, Feminism for the 99% (London: Verso Books, 2019).

This is particularly significant since many of the struggles described above began over issues of social reproduction—education, transportation, pensions, nurses in schools. All of these involve needs people seek to satisfy in reproducing themselves and their households outside the realm of paid work. As we have seen, education has been the most volatile site of contestation over questions of social reproduction. Education is also, of course, a feminized occupation. In the U.S. over three-quarters of all teachers are women. Equally significant, these teachers participate in the political climate in which working class feminism is resurgent. Irrespective of whether they call themselves feminists, educators in the U.S. have been affected by the atmospherics of #MeToo, the International Women’s Strikes, the Women’s March against Trump.83See the comment on this point by Lois Weiner in Jeffery R. Webber, “The Return of the Strike: A Forum on the Teachers’ Rebellion in the United States,” Historical Materialism, 26.4 (2018), 125-26.

No assessment of the new global wave of popular insurgence deserves to be taken seriously if it neglects the gender dimension of these upheavals.

Talking about their strike, West Virginia teacher Azareen Mullins explained, “A lot of the activism we’ve seen is not necessarily feminist, but it’s female-driven.”84As quoted by Eric Blanc, Red State Revolt: The Teachers’ Strikes and Working-Class Politics (London: Verso Books, 2019), 25. Of course, once women surge to the forefront of struggles as organizers, speakers, picket captains, and so on, taking the stage as political agents in their own right, their activism is implicitly feminist. This is the case, for instance, with the four-week-long teachers’ strike in Jordan in the fall of 2019. The Jordanian strike witnessed a torrent of public support for teachers. And the role of women teachers, as one commentator notes, “marked an advance in Jordanian women’s activism in general.”85Afaf Al-Khoshman, “Jordanian Female Teacher Activism in the Most Recent Teachers Strike,” 7iber.com, December 2, 2019. Similarly, in India, women’s activism was at the heart of protests against the anti-Muslim citizenship bill that erupted in December 2019. Young women on university campuses figured prominently, but especially noteworthy was a campaign of direct action, including street blockades, by thousands of predominantly working class Muslim women, particularly in the Delhi neighborhood of Shaheen Bagh.86For the prominent role of women in the Indian movement, see Sangbida Lahiri, “We are Seeing, for the First Time, a Sustained Countrywide Movement Led by Women,” The Wire, January 13, 2020; and and Santwana Bhattacharya, “The Rise of India’s Angry Young Women,” The New Indian Express, January 10, 2020. On the inspiring resistance at Shaheen Bagh, see Syeda Hameed, “The Brave Women of Shaheen Bagh,” The Wire, December 23, 2019; “India: Hundreds of Women Camp Against the Citizenship Law,” Telesur, December 28, 2019; Rohan Venkataramakrishnan, “The Art of Resistance: Ringing in the New Year with CAA Protesters at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh,” Scroll.in, January 1, 2020; Rajdeep Sardesai, “The Fury of Shaheen Bagh’s Women,” Hindustan Times, January 3, 2020; Rajvi Desai, “In Shaheen Bagh Muslim Women Redefine Carework as Resistance,” The Swaddle, January 6, 2020; Nilanjana Bhowick, “Shaheen Bagh, Delhi: These Women Cross a Milestone,” National Herald (India), January 25, 2020. For an overview of women’s activism against the CAA in India, see Sreemoyee Mukherjee, “From the Dadis of Shaheen Bagh to the Mothers of Manipur: The Strength of Women Protesters,” Arré, January 7, 2020. And in the state of Maharashtra, up to 20,000 Muslim women blocked roads as part of a local protest.87“20,000 Women Swarm Malegaon Roads to Protest Against CAA and NRC,” Maktoob, January 7, 2020. Consistent with movements elsewhere, young women in the Indian struggle have also foregrounded anti-rape actions and demands.88Shoaib Daniyal, “’The Rapist is You’: Feminists Sing Bengali Version of Chilean Piece to Protest Modi’s Kolkata Visit,”Scroll.in, January 14, 2020.

If some of these struggles are implicitly feminist in terms of their character and dynamics, many are explicitly so, and deeply resonant with the spirit of feminism for the 99 percent. Let us take the movements in Sudan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Chile as cases in point.89To be implicitly feminist means to push against dominant gender norms. Women’s activism for conservative causes is thus not implicitly feminist, unlike those movements I have described.

Perhaps no recent revolutionary upheaval has produced so iconic a feminist image as that of Sudanese student Alaa Salah dressed in white, standing on a car, addressing a crowd of demonstrators, her finger pointed to the sky. Rather than an isolated case, Salah is emblematic of the role played by women’s organizations in the 2018-19 uprising in Sudan.90See for instance, Jehanne Bergé, “2019, l’anée des revolutions au féminin, de l’Irak, à L’Alérgie en passant par le Soudan,” rtbf.be, December 29, 2019. As she explained to a UN meeting, “Women led resistance committees and sit-ins, planned protest routes and disobeyed curfews, even in the midst of a declared state of emergency that left them vulnerable to security forces. Many were teargassed, threatened, assaulted and thrown in jail without any charges or due process.”91As quoted by Katie Reilly, “The Iconic Photo of Her Helped Fuel Sudan’s Revolution. Now, She and Other Women Are Being Sidelined,” Time, October 30, 2019. Still, they persisted, toppling a president and establishing an indelible impression on political life in Sudan.

In the courageous uprising of the oppressed in Iraq, women have similarly been vital actors and organizers—forming people’s security forces in Tahrir Square, marching in the streets, and battling with police. Writers for feminist newspapers are in the thick of the organizing that sustains the struggle, and throughout the square are signs declaring that harassment of women is not permissible.92See Jansim and Sama. The feminist inflexion of the Lebanese revolution is equally pronounced.

“Our revolution is a feminist revolution” has been a recurring chant since the commencement of the uprising in Lebanon. Women have led demonstrations, candlelight vigils, and sit-ins. When early nights of the revolution saw violent clashes with security forces, women established the “women’s frontline.” By taking the front at marches, they contributed to dialing back the violence, creating space for thousands more to join the struggle.93Richard Hall, “In Lebanon, a Women’s Place is Leading the Revolution,” The Independent, November 9, 2019. Feminist organizations have also played a critical role in advancing anti-patriarchal slogans and demands, and in staffing a feminist tent in occupied space in downtown Beirut. When revolutionaries launched a newspaper of the movement in December, the first issue carried an article from a feminist activist under the headline, “I am not an easy woman.”94Hanan Hamdan, “Lebanon’s Revolutionaries Launch Their Own Newspaper,” al-monitor.com, December 10, 2019. Only days earlier, women had marched through Beirut in a demonstration against sexual harassment.95Omar Akour, “Lebanese Women March in Beirut Against Sexual Harassment,” Associated Press, December 7, 2019. In all these ways women have lent a vivid feminist coloration to Lebanon’s October Revolution.

But if one mass insurgency has most galvanized class struggle feminism internationally, it has been the momentous uprising in Chile. The March 8 Coalition was of course instrumental in launching the first general strike in October. But prior to that, the “Feminist Revolution” of May 2018, and the March 2019 women’s strike hugely popularized the new militant feminism. When the Chilean October began, demands related to social reproduction were at the forefront from its inception. Most dramatically, perhaps, the Chilean anti-rape song, “A Rapist in Your Path” (Un Violador en Tu Camino), regularly performed at marches and rallies, has gone viral, inspiring activists around the world. Videos of the song and accompanying dance moves have been recorded in Colombia, France, Mexico, Spain, and Britain, among other places.96Ana Maria Enciso Noguera, “How Performance Art has United Women’s Voice in Latin America and Throughout the World,” Aldia News, December 3, 2019; Charis McGowan, “Chile Anti-Rape Anthem Becomes International Feminist Phenomenon,” The Guardian, December 6, 2019. The strategic role of left-wing feminists in the Chilean movement has contributed to the broad-based character of its mass strikes, which have linked those in predominantly “feminized” sectors of employment, like healthcare, education, and childcare, with private-sector workers in the mines, the docks, transport, and more. Alongside these groups, indigenous peoples and students have contributed tremendous energy and enthusiasm to arguably the most insurgent series of mass strikes and social contestations anywhere in recent years.

Mass Strikes and the Future Of Socialism

The return of the mass strike today is, as noted above, no mere repetition. The strike returns in a unique context, as the project of a new working class subject, one shaped decisively by class struggle feminism.

The new mass strikes illustrate the possibility—indeed, the necessity—for emergent socialist movements to move beyond electoralism. This necessity was fundamental to the revolutionary vision of Rosa Luxemburg. While acknowledging that socialist electoral activity had a role to play, Luxemburg insisted that mass strikes had to be of a higher strategic priority in building a movement for socialist transformation.

In a companion article to this one (to be published in issue 2 of Spectre) I will explore Luxemburg’s arguments in detail. For the moment, let me note that even if the mass strikes and popular upheavals of 2019-20 do not lead to any immediate breakthroughs for the international working class, they might nevertheless be the incubators of future advances. Certainly, this was true of the Russian mass strikes of 1905, which served as the “great dress rehearsal” for the revolution of 1917. Militants schooled in the (defeated) mass strikes of twelve years earlier wesre critical to the 1917 struggle for a workers’ government. On a more modest scale today, education strikes of tens of thousands, international women’s strikes, and global climate strikes can train a layer of student- and worker-leaders in the strategy and tactics of mass struggle, which is a precondition for the development of new militant minorities, and with it for the reinvention of the party-form.97I cannot do justice here to the complex problem of rebuilding genuinely revolutionary parties of the working class. Suffice to say, these can only be based on real social forces, not the declarations of groupuscules.

The new wave of mass strikes represents a critical moment in the recomposition of the global left. In a world of war, poverty, and climate disasters, it signifies a return of radical hope. We owe it to ourselves, and to the millions in motion around the world, to celebrate this return of the mass strike, to study it, and to help strengthen its revolutionary possibilities.

1    I would like to thank Sue Ferguson, Sana Tannoury-Karam, Zachary Levenson, Charlie Post, and Ashley Smith for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this article.

2    Andre Gorz, “Reform and Revolution,” Socialist Register 1968 (London: Merlin Press, 1968), 111.

3    For a comprehensive account of 1968 in France see Daniel Singer, Prelude to Revolution: France in May 1968 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1970). For a detailed factory-level analysis of May 1968, see Andre Hoyles, General Strike: France 1968—A Factory by Factory Account (London: Institute for Workers Control, 1969). General overviews of the dynamics of global revolt in 1968 include: George Katsiaficas, The Imagination of the New Left: A Global Analysis of 1968 (Boston: South End Press, 1987); Chris Harman, The Fire Last Time: 1968 and After (London: Bookmarks, 1988); Tariq Ali and Susan Watkins, 1968: Marching in the Streets (New York: The Free Press, 1998). For an insightful assessment of May 1968 in France and its after-effects, see Kristin Ross, May ’68 and its Afterlives (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002).

4    Andre Gorz, Adieux aux proletariat (Paris: Éditions Galilée, 1980); Gorz, Farewell to the Working Class (London: Pluto Press, 1982).

5    Joshua Clover, Riot. Strike. Riot: The New Era of Uprisings (London: Verso Books, 2016): 23, 7. Clover remains committed to militant struggles for radical social change and occasionally hedges his bets about strikes. But he clearly sees the epoch of the strike as having drawn to a close around 1973 (Clover: 9). For thoughtful criticisms of Clover’s thesis see Amanda Armstrong, “Disarticulating the Mass Picket,” Viewpoint Magazine, September 6, 2016; Alberto Toscano, “Limits to Periodization, Viewpoint Magazine, September 6, 2016; and Kim Moody, “Organize. Strike. Organize,” Jacobin, May 2018. It is noteworthy that Clover’s political-economic analysis of late capitalism is fundamentally indebted to an entirely misguided (and theoretically incoherent) effort by Giovanni Arrighi to transpose moments in Marx’s general formula for capital (M-C-M’) onto long epochs in the history of capitalism. See Giovanni Arrighi, The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power and the Origins of Our Times (London: Verso Books, 1996): 219-20. As a brief reflection should show, contra Arrighi and Clover, there can be no phase of capitalism dominated by the exchange of money for commodities (M-C), since the latter must be transformed back into money (in ever-higher quantities) if capital is to accumulate. On the “great doubling” of the global working class, see Richard B. Freeman, “The New Global Labor Market,” Focus, 2:1 (Summer-Fall 2008), available at: https://www.irp.wisc.edu/publications/focus/pdfs/foc261a.pdf. I discuss some of these issues in Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance (Oakland: PM Press, 2012): 50-57. Nothing I argue here is meant to suggest that riots will not persist as forms of social protest. Indeed, they often take shape as moments within some of the mass strike movements I discuss below.

6    I say tentatively because it is still possible that a concerted ruling class offensive might derail a process that is still very much in its formative stages. Throughout this article, I will frequently follow custom and refer to the education strikes as “teachers’ strikes.” In fact, a variety of education workers—including cooks, caretakers, and educational assistants—are often involved. For that reason, the term “education strikes” more accurately reflects their composition.

7    Alexia Fernandez Campbell, “A Record Number of US Workers Went on Strike in 2018,” Vox, February 13, 2019; Bryce Covert, “Workers Are Heading Back to the Picket Lines,” The Nation, December 2, 2019. No doubt, the upturn in strike activity is from a very low level. But the trendline is up, and significantly so.

8    Bryce Covert, “Workers are Heading Back to the Picket Lines,” The Nation, December 2, 2019. I should note that the GM strike had few of the insurgent features of recent teachers’ strikes and was managed from above in conventional business union style.

9    Indeed, one of the primary websites for the movement is simply called https://globalclimatestrike.net/.

10  On Australia, see Zacharias Szumer, “Instead of Choking on Smoke, Sydney Workers Are Walking off the Job,” Jacobin, December 15, 2019. I discuss the Québec case later in this article.

11  For the term “infrastructures of dissent” and an insightful analysis of the issues to which I am alluding, see Alan Sears, The Next New Left: A History of the Future (Halifax: Fernwood Books, 2014): 14-24.

12  My use of the concepts of class decomposition and recomposition, which originated in Italian workerism of the 1960s and 1970s, is indebted to David Camfield, “Reorienting Class Analysis: Working Classes as Historical Formations,” Science and Society, 68:4 (2004-2005): 421-446.

13  Rosa Luxemburg, The Mass Strike, The Political Party, and The Trade Unions and The Junius Pamphlet (New York: Harper and Row, 1971). I discuss all these features at more length in the second last section of this article. For interesting reflections on some of these themes, see Kim Moody, “General Strikes, Mass Strikes,” Against the Current, September/October 2012, available at https://solidarity-us.org/atc/160/p3679/.

14  Indeed, this presupposition is implicitly necessary to Joshua Clover’s sharp distinction between riot and strike. Of course, there were forms of riot long before the strike, and there can be riots today that do not involve strikes. But once the capitalist mode of production emerges, strikes will often have riotous features. I should add here that the withdrawal of labor presupposes the withdrawal of labor-power.

15  Dermot Feenan, “On Strike: Commemorating the 250th Anniversary of the Word ‘Strike’,” available at http://dermotfeenan.com/index.php/2018/05/07/on-strike-commemorating-the-250th-anniversary-of-the-word-strike/. See also Feenan, “The Birth of the Strike,” Tribune, December 19, 2019.

16  Armstrong, “Disarticulating the Mass Picket.”

17  Jeremy Brecher, Strike! (San Francisco: Straight Arrow Books, 1972): 206, 208, 209, 211. Useful background on this period can be found in Art Preis, Labor’s Giant Step (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1972).

18  Of course, part of the purpose of a women’s strike is to highlight all the other forms of social reproductive work women perform that can be withdrawn. As Susan Ferguson points out, however, the orientation of the new Marxist feminism is to develop the classic workplace strike as one key front in an insurgent struggle on the terrain of modern capitalism. See Ferguson, Women and Work: Feminism, Labour, and Social Reproduction (London: Pluto Press, 2020), 133-37.

19  Claire Branigan and Cecilia Palmeiro, “Women Strike in Latin America and Beyond,” NACLA, March 8, 2018. See also Cecilia Nowell, “Argentina’s Ni Una Menos Turns Focus to Economic Crisis, Abortion,” Al Jazeera, June 3, 2019, and Diana Broggi, “Argentina’s Popular Feminism,” Jacobin, March 8, 2019.

20  “Massive Marches in Spain Display the Strength of the Feminist Movement,” El Pais, March 9, 2019.

21  Aruzza, Bhattacharya, Fraser, Feminism for the 99%, 8.

22  To be clear, I reject the idea of the emergence of a “precariat,” as proposed by Guy Standing in The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class (London: Bloomsbury, 2011). Instead, I argue that working class life—always precarious—has become more so due to processes of de-unionization, casualization, wage compression, and contracting out. Rather than precarity being the attribute of a specific class, it is a condition common to all working class people, to varying degrees. See Kim Moody, On New Terrain: How Capital is Reshaping the Battleground of Class War (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2017): 23-33; and Bryan D. Palmer, “Reconsiderations of Class: Precariousness as Proletarianization,” Socialist Register 2014 (London: Merlin Press, 2013).

23  Ghiwa Sayegh, “We Raise Fists, They Shake Fingers: Remembering Feminist Revolutions,” Kohl: A Journal for Body and Gender Research, 5:3 (Winter 2019).

24  Louis Matsakis, “Amazon Employees Wil Walk Out over the Company’s Climate Change Inaction,” Wired, September 9, 2019; Joe Demanuelle-Hall, “Amazon Warehouse Workers Deliver Christmas Walkout,” Labor Notes, January 3, 2020.

25  Rebecca Burns, “How European Workers Coordinated This Month’s Massive Amazon Strike—And What Comes Next,” In These Times, July 25, 2018; Jorn Boewe and Johannes Schulten, The Long Struggle of Amazon Employees (Brussels: Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, 2018); “Final Declaration of the Transnational Meeting of Amazon Workers in Leipzig, September 27-29, 2019,” available at https://www.transnational-strike.info/2019/11/06/final-declaration-of-the-transnational-meeting-of-amazon-workers-in-leipzig-september-27-29-2019/.

26  Jeffrey M. Jones, “As Labor Day Turns 125, Union Approval Near Fifty Year High,” Gallup News, August 28, 2019.

27  To be sure, other socialist-feminist approaches also developed this insight. But most of these operated with a “dual systems” approach—in which capitalism and patriarchy coexisted and interacted. Social reproduction theory develops a “unitary approach” in which the production of commodities and the reproduction of labor-power are differentiated aspects of a single social process. The following endnote points to key texts in this tradition.

28  For an excellent introduction to the concept of social reproduction see Tithi Bhattacharya, “How Not to Skip Class: Social Reproduction of Labor and the Global Working Class,” Viewpoint Magazine, October 31, 2015. See also Tithi Bhattacharya, ed., Social Reproduction Theory: Remapping Class, Recentering Oppression (London: Pluto Press, 2017), and Ferguson, Women and Work. A foundational text is Lise Vogel, Marxism and the Oppression of Women: Toward a Unitary Theory (1983; rpt. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2014). For an insightful defense of social reproduction theory against a variety of criticisms, see Cinzia Arruzza, “Functionalist, Determinist, Reductionist: Social Reproduction Feminism and its Critics, Science and Society, 80:1 (2016), 9-30.

29  Comment by Kate Doyle Griffiths in Jeffery R. Webber, “The Return of the Strike: A Forum on the Teachers’ Rebellion in the United States,” Historical Materialism, 26.4 (2018), 139.

30  See Ashley Smith, “Teachers’ Movements Gain Community Support by Centering Social Justice: Interview with Gillian Russom,” Truthout, April 3, 2019.

31  Richard Roman and Edur Velasco Arregui, “Mexico’s Oaxaca Commune,” Socialist Register 2008 (London: Merlin Press, 2007). See also Diana Denham and the CASA Collective, Teaching Rebellion: Stories from the Grassroots Resistance in Oaxaca (Oakland: PM Press, 2008).

32  Chicago Teachers Union, The Schools That Chicago’s Children Deserve (Chicago: CTU, February 2012).

33  Micah Uetricht, Strike for America: Chicago Teachers Against Austerity (London: Verso Books, 2014), 65, 66, and 70 for growing public support for the strikers.

34  Uetricht, Strike for America: 79. For background on the decades-long fight for racial justice in Chicago schools see Elizabeth Todd-Breland, A Political Education: Black Politics and Education Reform in Chicago Since the 1960s (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2018).

35  Alan Maass, “’When We Fight, We Win:’ Chicago Teachers Score Another Victory for Public Education,” The Nation, November 4, 2019.

36  Meghan Brophy, “Puerto Rico: The Teacher Uprising the Media is Ignoring,” Labor Notes, May 14, 2018; Mercedes Martinez and Monique Dols, “Teachers Fighting for Public Schools Were Key to the Uprising in Puerto Rico, Labor Notes, August 15, 2019.

37  Barbara Madeloni, “L.A. Teachers Win Big and Beat Back Privatizers,” Labor Notes, January 24, 2019; Samantha Winslow, “L.A. Teachers Showed Us How It’s Done,” Labor Notes, January 25, 2019.

38  Magally Miranda Alcázar, “Red for Ed in LA,” Commune, January 28, 2019; Alia Wong, “The Unique Racial Dynamics of the L.A. Teachers’ Strike,” The Atlantic, January 14, 2019; and Ashley Smith, “Teachers Movements.” With respect to anti-racist dimensions of the Arizona teachers’ strike of 2018, see Eric Blanc, Red State Revolt: The Teachers’ Strikes and Working-Class Politics (London: Verso Books, 2019), 68.

39  Gillian Russom, as quoted by Ashley Smith, “Teacher’s Movement.”

40  Tithi Bhattacharya, “Women are Leading the Wave of Strikes in America. Here’s Why,” Guardian, April 10, 2018; Blanc, 78.

41  Sydney Ghazarian, “The Climate Strikers Walked Out of School. Next, Let’s Walk Off the Job,” In These Times, November 5, 2019.

42  Alain Savard, “How Seven Thousand Québec Workers Went on Strike against Climate Change,” Labor Notes, October 25, 2019. For background on the Québec students strike of recent years, see Alain Savard, “Keeping the Student Strike Alive,” Jacobin, September 4, 2016.

43  Pablo Aravena, German Albuquerque, Osvaldo Fernandez, and Claudia Rojas, “What Has Just Happened in Chile?” translated from the Spanish original by Eva Astorga Tapia, LeftEast, December 20, 2019.

44  On the early weeks of the Chilean uprising see René Rojas, “If We Don’t Fuck Shit Up, We Don’t Exist to Them,” Jacobin, October 22, 2019; Tendencia Socialista Revolucionaria, “The October Uprising,” International Viewpoint, October 21, 2019; Barbara Fernandez Melleda, “The Chilean Spring (Part One): Tip of the Iceberg,” Alborada, October 21, 2019.

45  See Katy Fox-Hodess, “Interview: Chilean Dockworkers Organize Month-Long Strike and Face Down Police in Rooftop Standoff,” Labor Notes, February 21, 2019. See also Katy Fox-Hodess, “Building Labour Internationalism ‘from Below’: Lessons from the International Dockworkers Council’s European Working Group,” Work, Employment and Society, 34:1 (2020).

46  Laura Millan Lombrana, “Chile Faces Mine Stoppages as Workers Join Protests,” Bloomberg.com, October 21, 2019.

47  A good overview of these dockworker struggles is provided by Sean Robertson, “Chile: Dockworkers Union in the Frontline of Struggle Against Pinera,” Left Voice, December 3, 2019.

48  In a second part of this article, in issue 2 of Spectre, I will discuss Rosa Luxemburg’s theory of the mass strike at some length.

49  Galia Aguuilera, “Rebelión popular: qué son los Comités de Emergencia y Resguardo,” La Izquierda Diario Chile,” November 3, 2019; Matias Maiello, “Chile and the New Cycle of Class Struggle in Latin America,” Left Voice, October 30, 2019; Bree Busk, “The Popular Assemblies at the Heart of the Chilean Uprising,” Roar, December 11, 2019.

50  My efforts to think working class difference and unity together include “’Unity of the Diverse’: Working Class Formations and Popular Politics from Cochabamba to Cairo” in Marxism and Social Movements, ed. Colin Barker et al. (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2013), 401-23; “The Dialectics of Unity and Difference in the Constitution of Wage-Labor: On Internal Relations and Working Class Formation,” Capital and Class, 39:1 (2015), 131-46; “Intersections and Dialectics: Critical Reconstructions in Social Reproduction Theory” in Social Reproduction Theory: Remapping Class, Recentering Oppression, ed. Tithi Bhattacharya (London: Pluto Press, 2017), 94-111.

51  Sarah Jones, Little Rock Teachers Refuse to Relive the Bad Old Days,” New York Magazine, November 14, 2019. One key weakness of the teachers’ strike in Kentucky was the failure of the teachers’ union there to oppose a racist anti-gang bill. See Pranav Jani and Flynn Murray, “What Road Will Lead Kentucky Teachers Forward?”, Socialist Worker (US), April 23, 2018.

52  Chris Brooks, “University of California Workers Strike for Racial Justice,” Labor Notes, November 20, 2018.

53  For excellent discussions of the background to and dynamics of the October Revolution in Lebanon, see Jeffrey G. Karam and Sana Tannoury-Karam, “The Lebanese Intifada: Observations and Reflections on Revolutionary Times,” Jadaliyya, November 10, 2019; and Rima Majed, “Lebanon’s October Revolution: Hope in the Midst of Crisis,” Research Analytical Note for The Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice, Princeton University, December 7, 2019. On inequality in Lebanon see also Lydia Assouad, “L’économie rentière de Liban a engendré des niveaux d’inégalité extrêmes,” Le Monde, November 18, 2019.

54  Jenny Gustafsson, “Lebanon’s Peaceful Protesters Have One Demand: The Whole Rotten Elite Must Go,” November 19, 2019, available at https://www.juancole.com/2019/11/lebanons-peaceful-protesters.html.

55  Timour Azhari, “Lebanon Students Skip School as Protesters Eye State Institutions,” Al Jazeera, November 6, 2019; Kareem Chehayeb, “For 2020, Lebanese Protesters Vow to Make New Year Revolutions,” Middle East Eye, January 1, 2020.

56  A point made powerfully by Sana Tannoury-Karam, “A Lebanese October Revolution,” lecture at the University of Houston, November 12, 2019. See also Karam and Tannoury-Karam.

57  “Protesters Seal off Baghdad Bridges as Thousands Join General Strike,” France 24, November 17, 2019.

58  The Iraqi government’s repression has been aided and abetted by Shia militias backed by Iran.

59  Quoted by Mustafa Habib, “Welcome to Freedom: Visiting the Square in Baghdad, Where Protesters Rule a Utopian Iraq,” Niqash: Briefings from Inside and Across Iraq, available at https://www.niqash.org/en/articles/politics/6019/. On poetry and hip hop in the revolution, see Fanar Haddad, “Hip Hop, Poetry and Shia Iconography: How Tahrir Square Gave Birth to a New Iraq,” Middle East Eye, December 9, 2019.

60  Feminist activist Iqbal, as quoted by Ansar Jasim and Schluwa Sama, “A Country is in the Making: Report from Baghdad’s Occupied Tahrir Square,” Open Democracy, November 21, 2019.

61  As this article was being finished, the assassination in Iraq of Iran’s General Qasem Soleimani by the Trump administration cast an ominous shadow over the future of the Iraqi uprising. Some of the challenges emerging at the time were broached by Bilal Zenab Ahmed, “Why Trump’s Actions May Lead to Iran Occupying Iraq,” Verso Blog, January 8, 2020.

62  For first-rate reporting and analysis of the Hong Kong uprising see the extensive coverage by the Lausan Collective, available here: https://lausan.hk/, and the ongoing articles by Colin Sparks published by rs21 in Britain, available here: https://www.rs21.org.uk/.

63  Au Loong-Yu, “Continuous Rebellion in Hong Kong,” International Viewpoint, December 27, 2019.

64  See Ralph Ruckus, “’Saam Baa” in Hong Kong – Three Strikes Paralyze the City,” NonCopyRiot, November 18, 2019. Notwithstanding the title, this article explores the weakness of workplace strikes in the Hong Kong uprising.

65  Jeffie Lam, “From Two-Star Michelin Chef to Union Organiser, Hong Kong Chef’s Career Path is not What He Had in Mind,” South China Morning Post, December 26, 2019.

66  Colin Sparks, “Hong Kong: Opportunities for the Movement,” rs21, December 17, 2019.

67  Holmes Chan, “’Resist Tyranny, Join a Union’: Huge Turnout as Hongkongers Hit the Streets for NewYear’s Protest,” Hongkongfp.com, January 1, 2020.

68  Sara Wu, “Hong Kong Workers Flock to Labor Unions as New Protest Tactic, Reuters, January 9, 2020.

69  Isabelle Bartter, “Colombia Students Strike Against Education Cuts,” Socialist Worker (U.S.), October 23, 2018.

70  Isabel Penaranda and Julian Gomez-Delgado, “Colombia’s New Awakening,” Jacobin, December 8, 2019; Pablo Medina Uribe, “Behind the National Strike in Colombia,” NACLA News, November 27, 2019.

71  Carla Gonzalez, “Colombia’s Indigenous Peoples Join National Strike in Bogota,” Telesur, November 29, 2019.

72  The pension “reforms” proposed by French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron involved both an across-the-board hiking of the pensionable age and attacks on the “special regimes” that allow for earlier retirement ages for groups involved in often more taxing work, like sewage workers, opera dancers, and railway workers. For a good overview see Plateform d’Enquêtes Militantes, “’Grévolution: First Round of a General Strike, Verso Blog, January 9, 2020.

73  For an excellent analysis of the French strikes and the tactical inspiration provided by the Yellow Vests, see Daniel Taylor, “France’s General Strike: 21st Century Class Struggle,” Red Flag (Australia), January 17, 2020.

74  See Plateform d’Enquêtes Militantes, “’Grévolution.”

75  “Electricity Strikers in France Light Up Poor Homes This Christmas, Cut Power and Gas to Bosses and Police,” the freeonline, December 26, 2019.

76  “Retraites: vers une intense mobilization du 9 au 11 janvier,” Huffington Post, January 3, 2019; Angelique Chrisafis, “France Strike: Nurses, Teachers, and Lawyers Join Pension Strike,” The Guardian, January 9, 2020.

77  Danica Jordan, “Last Straw as Teachers in France Join Nationwide Strike,” Common Dreams, December 10, 2019; Angela Charlton and Elaine Ganley, “France on Strike: Power Cuts, Schools Shut, No Eiffel Tower, Associated Press, December 17, 2019; “France Records 391-Mile Traffic Jam as Public Transport Brought to Halt by Third Week of Strike Over Pension Changes,” ITV News, December 16, 2019; Alastair Jamieson, “French Strikes Latest: Unions Warn No ‘Christmas Truce’ in Sight as Protests Continue,” Euronews, December 18, 2019;  Angelique Chrisafis, “Striking French Rail Workers Clash with Riot Police,” The Guardian, December 23, 2019. For a thoughtful overview, see Maxime Quijoux and Guillaume Gourgues, “France’s Strikes Show the Unions are Alive,” Jacobin, January 8, 2020; and Axel Persson (interviewed by Soraya Guénifi and Clément Petitjean, “This Strike is Uniting the Resistance Against Macron,” Jacobin, January 11, 2020.

78  See Sandipto Dasgupta, “The Fight for India’s Democracy, From the University to the Streets,” The Wire, January 12, 2020.

79  Subodh Varma, “Largest Ever Strike in India Shakes Up Modi Government,” Newsclick, January 8, 2020. For an overview of the events in India see Samanth Subramanian, “Indian Democracy is Fighting Back,” The Atlantic, December 24, 2019. See also Sidarth Bhatia, “India’s Young are the Real Heroes of the Year,” The Wire, December 27, 2019; Achin Vanaik (interviewed by Thomas Crowley), “Modi Might Have Gone Too Far,” Jacobin, December 22, 2019; and Chandrima Chakraborty, “Why is Indian Prime Minister Modi Attacking Student Protesters?”, The Conversation, January 6, 2020. Some commentators suggested that perhaps 250 million workers struck. But Vijay Prashad puts the figure at around 150 million and I have followed him on this. See Prashad, “Here’s What a Real Strike Looks Like: 150 Million Say No to Despotism in India,” Common Dreams, January 8, 2019.

80  “Sudan Protesters Begin Two-Day Strike to Pressure Military,” Al Jazeera, May 28, 2019; Ruth Michaelson, “Algerians Begin General Strike Against Bouteflika’s Rule,” The Guardian, March 10, 2019; IndustriALL Global Union, “Population Out in Force for General Strike in Algeria,” November 7, 2019.

81  MENA Solidarity Network, “How Grassroots Democracy Powered Béjaia’s General Strike Against Algerian Presidential Election” (interview with Kamel Aissat, trans. Anne Alexander), menasolidaritynetwork.com, December 31, 2019.

82  Cinzia Arruzza, Tithi Bhattacharya, and Nancy Fraser, Feminism for the 99% (London: Verso Books, 2019).

83  See the comment on this point by Lois Weiner in Jeffery R. Webber, “The Return of the Strike: A Forum on the Teachers’ Rebellion in the United States,” Historical Materialism, 26.4 (2018), 125-26.

84  As quoted by Eric Blanc, Red State Revolt: The Teachers’ Strikes and Working-Class Politics (London: Verso Books, 2019), 25.

85  Afaf Al-Khoshman, “Jordanian Female Teacher Activism in the Most Recent Teachers Strike,” 7iber.com, December 2, 2019.

86  For the prominent role of women in the Indian movement, see Sangbida Lahiri, “We are Seeing, for the First Time, a Sustained Countrywide Movement Led by Women,” The Wire, January 13, 2020; and and Santwana Bhattacharya, “The Rise of India’s Angry Young Women,” The New Indian Express, January 10, 2020. On the inspiring resistance at Shaheen Bagh, see Syeda Hameed, “The Brave Women of Shaheen Bagh,” The Wire, December 23, 2019; “India: Hundreds of Women Camp Against the Citizenship Law,” Telesur, December 28, 2019; Rohan Venkataramakrishnan, “The Art of Resistance: Ringing in the New Year with CAA Protesters at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh,” Scroll.in, January 1, 2020; Rajdeep Sardesai, “The Fury of Shaheen Bagh’s Women,” Hindustan Times, January 3, 2020; Rajvi Desai, “In Shaheen Bagh Muslim Women Redefine Carework as Resistance,” The Swaddle, January 6, 2020; Nilanjana Bhowick, “Shaheen Bagh, Delhi: These Women Cross a Milestone,” National Herald (India), January 25, 2020. For an overview of women’s activism against the CAA in India, see Sreemoyee Mukherjee, “From the Dadis of Shaheen Bagh to the Mothers of Manipur: The Strength of Women Protesters,” Arré, January 7, 2020.

87  “20,000 Women Swarm Malegaon Roads to Protest Against CAA and NRC,” Maktoob, January 7, 2020.

88  Shoaib Daniyal, “’The Rapist is You’: Feminists Sing Bengali Version of Chilean Piece to Protest Modi’s Kolkata Visit,”Scroll.in, January 14, 2020.

89  To be implicitly feminist means to push against dominant gender norms. Women’s activism for conservative causes is thus not implicitly feminist, unlike those movements I have described.

90  See for instance, Jehanne Bergé, “2019, l’anée des revolutions au féminin, de l’Irak, à L’Alérgie en passant par le Soudan,” rtbf.be, December 29, 2019.

91  As quoted by Katie Reilly, “The Iconic Photo of Her Helped Fuel Sudan’s Revolution. Now, She and Other Women Are Being Sidelined,” Time, October 30, 2019.

92  See Jansim and Sama.

93  Richard Hall, “In Lebanon, a Women’s Place is Leading the Revolution,” The Independent, November 9, 2019.

94  Hanan Hamdan, “Lebanon’s Revolutionaries Launch Their Own Newspaper,” al-monitor.com, December 10, 2019.

95  Omar Akour, “Lebanese Women March in Beirut Against Sexual Harassment,” Associated Press, December 7, 2019.

96  Ana Maria Enciso Noguera, “How Performance Art has United Women’s Voice in Latin America and Throughout the World,” Aldia News, December 3, 2019; Charis McGowan, “Chile Anti-Rape Anthem Becomes International Feminist Phenomenon,” The Guardian, December 6, 2019.

97  I cannot do justice here to the complex problem of rebuilding genuinely revolutionary parties of the working class. Suffice to say, these can only be based on real social forces, not the declarations of groupuscules.

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